Second lady Karen Pence and daughter Charlotte promote children’s book at Nixon Library
Second lady Karen Pence and daughter Charlotte Pence signed copies of their children’s book, “Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President” on March 22 at the Richard M. Nixon Library and Presidential Museum.
The book, written by Charlotte Pence with watercolor illustrations by Karen Pence, follows the family’s pet bunny, Marlon Bundo, who experiences a day in the life of the vice president by hopping after “Grampa” — Vice President Mike Pence. Marlon Bundo makes stops at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, rides in a motorcade, sits on a balcony overlooking the Washington Monument and says an evening prayer with Grampa.
The real Marlon Bundo joined the family in 2013. Charlotte Pence, the vice president’s eldest daughter, wrote a short film featuring a bunny while studying digital cinema and English at DePaul University.
Needing to cast a hare, she found one on Craigslist and messaged its owner about the price.
“Make me an offer,” the owner replied.
Pence’s friends joked that the owner sounded like Marlon Brando in “The Godfather.”
They named the rabbit Marlon Bundo. Photographers soon captured images of staff unloading the Pence family pets, including BOTUS (Bunny of the United States), from Air Force Two.
“He was suddenly famous, and that started this whole thing going,” Charlotte Pence told the Yorba Linda audience.
She created an Instagram handle with his name and chronicled photographs of him reading the newspaper, on the lap of Whoopi Goldberg and looking out windows of the vice president’s official residence at the United States Naval Observatory.
Marlon Bundo attracted over 31,000 Instagram followers.
The mother and daughter sat in their living room and thought about writing a book, wishing to incorporate Karen Pence’s love of watercolor. They conceptualized an educational book that would teach children, families and teachers about the role of the vice president.
End pages include a list of facts, such as noting how the vice president’s residence has a working observatory, to administrations making special additions to the residence.
The Bidens, for example, built a garden with the names of every family member of past vice presidential families engraved on stones. The Pences’ contribution, a beehive, is home to over 30,000 bees.
Proceeds from the book go to The A21 Campaign, a nonprofit that fights human trafficking, and Tracy’s Kids, an art therapy program for children with cancer.
“We worked on it closely together, traded ideas and, for the most part, were on the same page,” Charlotte Pence said. “We think Marlon has a lot more adventures to go on, and we’d love to do something for a sequel.”
HBO host John Oliver and author Jill Twiss have already released a parody, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” recounting how the Pences’ pet falls in love with a male bunny — a comment on the vice president’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Proceeds from the Oliver and Twiss picture book go to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit providing help to suicidal LGBTQ young people, and AIDS United.
Charlotte Pence reacted to the Oliver book on the Fox Business Network show “Mornings With Maria.”
“I think imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, in a way,” she said. “But also, in all seriousness, his book is contributing to charities that I think we can all get behind ... So I’m all for it, really.”
Both books are selling briskly. The Pence book is No. 5 on the New York Times list of Best Sellers in the Children’s Picture Book category. The parody is No. 6.
At the March 22 book-signing, audience members asked if President and Melania Trump have met Marlon Bundo. They had, at a dinner at the United States Naval Observatory.
The first lady invited Karen and Charlotte Pence to read their book at the White House Easter Egg Roll, but the Pences declined, explaining the family — and Marlon Bundo — were taking a mini-spring vacation.
“You have to have the bunny on Easter,” Karen Pence said.
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